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Posted: Dec 18 2007, 09:26 AM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 27-October 05
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band @ ABC, Glasgow, 14 December 07
It would be easy for SAHB to rest on their laurels, giving their excellent back catalogue a yearly workmanlike play-through in the certain knowledge that their loyal audience will always turn out for the annual Christmas tour.
Unlike many reformed groups missing key members, however, the revived SAHB have always been about more than paying the mortgage or securing a decent pension. The SAHB were never merely Alex Harvey’s backing band in the first place and continue to innovate both in the fields of musicianship and extreme silliness 25 years after his untimely demise.
You never know quite what to expect with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. This was underlined by the fact that they were played onto stage with an acid-house version of Faith Healer.
During the evening original members Zal Cleminson, Ted and Hugh McKenna and Chris Glen joined by frontman Max Maxwell injected new life into the old material. In addition to faithful renditions of classics such as Faith Healer, Framed and Give my Complements to the Chef, other old favourites such as Midnight Moses, Tomahawk Kid and Isobel Goudie were given radical makeovers from 70s rock to contemporary metal.
SAHB also premiered new material when guitarist Zal Cleminson took to the microphone for Hail Vibrania, taken from the forthcoming album. This combined an eighties metal sound with a classic Harvey style story about the continued exploits of Vambo. Fantastic.
As ever, the SABH provided more than just a hard rock gig. The banter between Chris Glen, Zal Cleminson and Max Maxwell was downright hilarious and Zal's miming was entertaining as ever. All in all, it was a mixture of rock, stand-up comedy and pantomime. There was even an attempt at ballet from Mad Max who has become a far more competent and confident frontman since last year's tour. Even better, unlike last year he seemed to be sober which certainly helped.
This was a gig of two halves. After an hour of brain crunchingly heavy metal, the encore took an entirely different direction with a saxophone driven version of Vambo, and two early rock and roll style songs: I Just Wanna Make Love to You and Hole in Her Stocking, neither of which had played live since 1972.
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the finale, a show-stopping version of Anthem, complete with two pipers and a military drummer. Why is there still a debate in Scotland as to what the official national anthem should be when we have this?
Chris Glen said at the end of the night that he would never forget the gig. He won't be the only one.
So good was the entertainment that I didn't notice until later that they hadn't played either of their chart hits (Delilah, Boston Tea Party) or Amos Moses, Gang Bang or Swampsnake either for that matter…. The sell-out audience didn't seem to mind either.
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band almost made me proud to be Glaswegian for a few misguided moments.
:twisted :twisted :twisted :twisted / 4 out of 5
Setlist: Faith Healer, Midnight Moses, Dance to your Daddy, Dolphins, Hail Vibrania, Framed, Isobel Goudie, Give my Complements to the Chef, Tomahawk Kid. Encore: Vambo, I Just Wanna Make Love to you, Hole in her Stocking, Anthem.